Dr. Verawat Champreda, Head of BIOTEC Enzyme Technology Laboratory, has been honored with the 2010 Young Scientist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. The Award is presented annually to recognize and encourage active young researchers who have proven their ability to do independent research of high quality.
Dr. Verawat graduated Master of Science in Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering from Mahidol University. Following that, he received Ph.D. scholarship from Thai Ministry of Science and Technology and began his study in Biochemistry at Imperial College London in 1999. He joined BIOTEC in 2003 where he currently holds the position of head of BIOTEC Enzyme Technology Laboratory.
Dr. Verawat took an essential role in research on enzyme discovery from microbial resources in Thailand and enzyme application in key local industries with the focus on the industrially important carbohydrate degrading enzymes, e.g., cellulases, hemicellulases and amylases as well as other biotechnologically potent enzymes. He also worked with colleagues in the Enzyme Technology and Microbial Cell Factory laboratories on pioneering the metagenomic technology in the country. This culture-independent technology leads to the capability on discovery of genes encoding industrially potent enzymes directly from environmental metagenomes and the ability to study microbial community structures in particular ecosystems with no prior cultivation. The research thus results in the maximization of the country’s microbial resources for biotechnological application. Current research interest focuses on the development of efficient lignocellulolytic enzyme systems from lignocellulose degrading microbial consortia bred in the laboratory and environmental metagenomic libraries. The study also focuses on the enzyme synergistic action, which will provide the basis understanding on degradation of agricultural biomass for further application in the promising biorefinery industry for production of biofuels and chemicals. The research would contribute significantly to the sustainable development of biorefinery platform in the country.
To set up a strong research network in enzyme technology and biorefinery, Dr. Verawat has worked with researchers in leading local and international institutions such as the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE), King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Mahidol University, The University of Tokyo, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. In addition, he was the representative of the Thailand on meeting in establishing regional collaboration, including ASEAN Peat network and ASEAN network on Biorefinery, which will promote the collaboration in the region and strengthen the key position of the country in international biotechnology research.
Other five young scientists who have been named as recipients of the 2010 Young Scientist Award are Dr. Kruawun Jankaew from Chulalongkorn University; Dr. Chanakan Prom-u-thai from Chiang Mai University; Dr. Banjong Boonchom from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; Dr. Sa-Ad Riyajan from Prince of Songkla University and Dr. Uracha Ruktanonchai from National Nanotechnology Center.
The Foundation also announced the 2010 Outstanding Scientist Awards to Prof. Dr. Prasert Auewarakul and Dr. Visith Thongboonkerd, both from Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University.
Group photo with Dr. Kanyawim Kirtikara, BIOTEC Executive Director (third from right), Dr. Lily Eurwilaichitr, Director of Bioresources Technology Unit (second from right) and Dr. Verawat' s team at Enzyme Technology Laboratory.
Posted on 5 August 2010.